Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 10th 2017 Contents news A5
Friday, March 10, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Dad of injured boy wants leniency for alleged bully
RADHICA DE SILVA
In a strange twist, Yousuf Hosein,
whose eight-year-old son was injured
by an alleged bully at a denominational
school in Carapichaima, is now plead-
ing for leniency for the alleged attacker.
After speaking with the school supervi-
sor and principal yesterday, Hosein said he
decided to forgive the child who broke his
son's arm. Hosein said he asked the prin-
cipal to retract the suspension letter which
was given to the accused on Wednesday.
Saying every child deserved a second
chance, Hosein said suspension made no
"What will he sit down home and do for
seven days? He needs a place where he can
get guidance and counselling. He needs
therapy and he should not be deprived of
his education. We have to give him support
so he can realise what he did was wrong,"
Hosein told the T&T Guardian.
Hosein said he planned to meet the boy's
parents on Monday, along with the princi-
pal and the school supervisor. But he also
renewed his call for the Ministry of Educa-
tion to provide specialised care for problem
students. (See editorial on Page A22)
A senior school official, who admitted to
referring the child for behavioural thera-
py since 2015, agreed that every student
deserved a second chance. He added that
the child was on lunchtime supervision on
Tuesday and just as he turned his back, the
boy went out and started to play police and
thief with Hosein's son, fracturing his arm.
Meanwhile, two other students who were
injured by bullies at the Mayaro Govern-
ment Primary School and the San Fernan-
do West Secondary School on February 9
and 19 respectively, have not returned to
classes, but their parents are pursuing legal
Navin Madoo, whose nephew suffered
amnesia after being knocked unconscious
by another student on February 19, said
yesterday the family is seeking a transfer
out of the San Fernando West Secondary
Following the incident, Madoo said
the ministry offered to pay medical bills
but the family has not yet received any re-
port on the investigation. He lamented that
while his nephew was languishing at home
struggling to cope with memory loss, the
bully had returned to classes after a sev-
Attorney Douglas Bayley, who is repre-
senting the family, said the principals of
the three schools can be held liable. Under
Section 27 of the Education Act, it is the
responsibility of the principal to ensure the
safety of pupils, Bayley added. In terms of
prosecution of criminal offences such as
assault, Bayley said the DPP is responsible.
"However, in terms of the civil negligence
claims, other than the common law duty
of care, specifically, Section 27 of the Ed-
ucation Act provides that the principal is
responsible," he added.
On the incident involving the student of
Mayaro Government, Bayley said a letter
was sent requesting details of the investi-
gation under the Freedom of Information
Act. He called on the ministry to make their
investigation public, adding that in all three
cases, reports of bullying were lodged by
the parents of the injured pupils prior to
the day of the incidents.
Bayley also said a report was made to
the Child Protection Unit, the Professional
Standards Bureau and acting Commissioner
of Police Stephen Williams, asking for an
investigation into the conduct of the police,
who refused to take a report after the nine-
year-old student was injured.
be taken more
Claims of children being bullied must be taken
seriously and not simply dismissed, as in some
instances this can have serious repercussions for
the Education Ministry.
This was the warning from National Parent Teacher
Association president Zena Ramatali yesterday.
Addressing the issue following the launch of the
Ministry of National Security's Citizen Security and
UTT's safety conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel
in Port-of-Spain, Ramatali said, "The time will come
when the ministry will be held accountable because
principals and supervisors are not really doing what
they are supposed to do.
"Too many times the principals and teachers ignore
complaints. They do not act on it and they look at it
as trivial. I don't think it is fair for any parent to send
their child to school "whole" and that child ends up
with an injury that is life threatening."
Her comments came in the wake of the latest bul-
lying allegation made by the parent of a boy attending
a Carapichaima school.
"There is something called duty of care and this
is not only when the children are in the classroom...
once they are on that school compound, duty of care
comes into play.
"And if teachers or principals are not expressing that
duty of care, then somebody must be held account-
able," Ramatali said.
Calling for a thorough investigation into the matter,
she added, "Let the chips fall where they may."
Ramatali said there must not only be a clear policy
on bullying in all schools, but also a peace programme.
"We need conflict resolution, we need anger man-
agement and we need proper supervision of all our
students," she said.
"If students are left unsupervised for long periods of
time, obviously the Devil will find work for idle hands."
She also urged that all stakeholders, including
parents and administrators, come together to chart
a proper course going forward, adding that parents
should be more involved in the lives of their children.
"Teachers also must teach students how they should
play with each other," Ramatali said.
She said parents must also ensure children do not
engage in violent games at home, including watching
them on television.
On the association's involvement in the security
programme launched yesterday, she said the NPTA
conducts ongoing work in troubled communities so
as to provide a strong educational foundation to pupils
who need help the most.
She said some of the challenges included the fact
that children ranging in ages from eight to 17 were un-
able to read simple sentences or do basic Maths and
She said some of the children often acted out real
life events of what had occurred in their communities,
including fighting and shootings.
"But we have professional people who would sit
with them and counsel them when this happens,"
$185M SPENT ON CSP
Some $185 million has been pumped into the Citizen
Security Programme for the past nine years.
"This is an average of less than $21 million per year,"
CSP director Gregory Sloane-Seale said in defence of the
sum spent yesterday.
Sloane-Seale said citizens got value for money for the
investment, as the murder rate, especially in troubled com-
munities like Laventille, had been drastically reduced due
to their efforts.
"We have managed, within the communities that we
work in, to reduce homicides by 45 per cent within that
nine-year period," Sloane-Seale added.
He said at the crux of the programme was the transfer
of skills and knowledge to residents in troubled communi-
ties, so they themselves could in turn reduce the risk fac-
tors. The programme is expected to end in April this year
but Sloane-Seale said he believed it would be continued.
Students being 'coached' before ministry probe
T&T Unified Teachers' Association
(TTUTA) president Lynsley Doodhai
says he has received several reports that
students involved in a violent protest
against teachers at the Ste Madeleine
Secondary School are being coached
before facing a team of Ministry of Ed-
Doodhai made the claim yesterday, as he
said Education Minister Anthony Garcia
was fed wrong information on the incident.
He was speaking specifically to the fact that
Garcia claimed no teacher was struck with
bottles of water and soft drink thrown at
them by students during a legitimate pro-
test outside the school on Monday.
Doodhai said teachers and a television
cameraman shooting the protest were al-
legedly struck by the students, who had
staged a counter protest behind the gates
while their teachers engaged in a placard
protest outside the compound.
Garcia visited the school on Tuesday to
get a first hand report of what transpired
and in an effort to restore peace. He has
ordered an investigation and is expected
to get the report today.
The T&T Guardian was also told by sev-
eral school sources that on Wednesday, sev-
eral of the students who were 'ringleaders'
in the protest spent the majority of the day
being "coached by certain administrative
staff" for their interviews with the inves-
The source said in light of the alleged
coaching, several teachers at the school
do not believe the investigation is going
to be fair.
But Doodhai said TTUTA will wait until
the investigation is completed before mak-
ing any statements on it's fairness.
There was no response to queries sent to
the Education Ministry's communications
department and calls to Garcia's cellphone
also went unanswered yesterday.
Ste Madeleine Secondary School principal, Joy Arjoonsingh addresses students at a special
assembly during Education Minister Anthony Garcia's visit to the school on Tuesday.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
ST MADELEINE BOTTLE PELTING INCIDENT
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